when the Muse keeps quiet

One of the things I love about blogging is the great bloggers…all kinds of people, all over the world, young and old (is that politically correct?) and all political and religious persuasions.   I like that.   How boring life would be if we never got out of our particular little niche.     I DO care about all my … uh…blogging acquaintances…and their opinions and points of view…even the ones that don’t think like I do.   That’s OK, feel free to say what ya want and I’ll deal with it.    My best friends usually don’t agree with me on everything…some don’t agree on anything…

Blogging is fun because there aren’t many rules, and when it isn’t fun there is always the unfollow button.

This post is supposed to be about My Muse.    She stays out of the way, mostly, and pops out with a brainstorm of an idea, or nags me to comment on World Affairs, or Cats, or  to expound on my opinions or ideas.       Right from the beginning I established my blog as “Eclectic” in nature.   That means I am right on topic no matter what my subject of the day happens to be.

Some days I publish three or four posts, which may deal with anything or everything.   Maybe I’ll write about my childhood, playing mumblety-peg with my brother, or learning to read, or skipping through an airport on my way to…wherever.    I am a Historian by education, and sometimes write about a topic dear to my heart—Aztec flower wars, the view from the top of an ancient pyramid in the Yucatan Jungle, the art work of Diego Rivera, slavery in the Caribbean, miscellaneous wars…obscene houses of worship with walls painted in real Gold.

Other days something more mundane, like expounding on the coming election…or discussing the Soviet Union and why I really love watching James Bond movies…or maybe even a commentary about the various James Bond actors.

Poetry is a form of writing which I only very recently discovered.  Oh sure, I had creative writing in English classes here and there, copied Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven into notebooks along with some Shakespeare, and a selection of my early poetry, which remains in my notebooks, and I sit and read occasionally to marvel at my flowing words and flowery handwriting.   All that with a real ink-pen…a fountain pen which was filled with real ink.

Last year I participated in a WordPress Poetry Writing class.  I loved it…learning new forms which I had not really considered before, like Haiku, Villanelle, limericks, and my favorite Free-Form Poetry.   Which to me means nice words that fit nicely together to form rhyme and prose lines  that are palpable to the ear and lend themselves to foot-tapping and rhythym.

The poetry forms are fascinating.   The act of rhyming, and counting syllables to achieve a certain “beat” to the poem…meter, actually.     Instead of being tedious, as it might be to physically craft a poem following specific rules in a Freshman poetry-writing class, I find the mechanics of Poetry to be interesting, educational, and instructive.

When my Muse seems to be taking a day off, and I want to write a poem, I like to scribble a line and then build on it, in the rough draft using words that will not necessarily make it to the final rhyme.   I hasten to say that I have finally learned that poems do not have to necessarily rhyme…as in the Cat in the Hat being true blue…that kind of rhyme.

Sometimes these methods pay off in producing a quick and succinct poem, but other times it is months that a “rough draft” languishes in the notebook, occasionally having an update that consists of a tweke here and there, polishing a word, scratching it out.   Some efforts never work for me,   especially  forced or manufactured lines of poetry that just stink…or are stupid.

Writing prose articles is different.  I won’t bore everybody with long lists of examples of such posts.       I try hard to avoid  writing that tends to be presumptious…self-serving…holier-than-thou…or in lecture mode.    Above all my goal is to entertain and inform, and to interact with other bloggers who have similar interests or common experiences.


Conjuring McCarthyism


WOW!!!   This stuff about the Russians hacking the DNC email is SO COOL!   It makes me think of the old days when the McCarthy hearings were on the television every day for what seemed forever.   That was back in 1950.

I was a kid then, in high school,   interested primarily in hanging out and dancing and all that stuff.    But I LOVED the McCarthy hearings.  In black and white, on the small screen TV, the congressional hearings presided over by Senator Joseph McCarthy were dramatic, gripping—TRUE drama.   Frightening!

Endlessly, it seemed, Senator McCarthy hammered away at hapless people of all walks of life who were accused or suspected of being Communists—spies of the Soviet Union.      These people were largely Movie Stars and other Hollywood bigwigs, and all levels of United States Government workers…from the lowliest clerks to people in high positions.

I, being a 16-year-old girl, working at a dry goods/grill/hardware store…making ice-cream sodas and hotfudge sundaes, and hamburgers.    I worked the soda counter, and was forbidden by the owner of the store to wander off into other areas.  I stayed in my brightly lit corner, minded my ice-cream soda bar and grill, and chatted with my friends.

Although I was a reasonably good kid, minded my own business and did my work, then went home and did my homework, watched some TV (sometimes,) hung out with my friends…my best friend was the Head Majorette with the high school marching band, which provided me with considerable “reflected glory.”

Also—I watched Senator McCarthy as he brought down his best Inquisitioner techniques on the suspected Communists.

I was scared to death that somehow I could be mistaken for a Communist.  Not sure how such a thing could be, I nonetheless watched what I read, who I talked to, and what I said.     I was fully aware that if I didn’t toe the mark, it would be ME up against the  virtual rack….the one that the Spanish Inquisition used to great infamy back in the sixteenth century.

It still gives me the shudders, remembering the wild-eyed fury of the Senator…who in his best lawyer-fashion, ranted and raved at his “suspects,” who sat and squirmed with presperation dripping down their faces under the hot lights of the television studio.     I suppose if I really wanted to I could research the history of those Senate Hearings and list names of the unfortunate “Communist Sympathizers” and the details of their dastardly deeds.

SO—all this comes to mind when watching IN AWE—Donald Trump nonchalantly shrugging his shoulders and raving about the Russians, saying dumb stuff such as he “hopes the Russians” hack into some more American e-mails.   Heck, why not?   Dig into the State Department secrets.   Let us read all those juicy emails of Hillary Clinton discussing bridesmaids dresses and menu decisions…hmmm, beef or chicken?

Where is all the outrage?   If Donald Trump were to suddenly be transported back in time to 1950, and was seated at that torture chamber table being harangued by Senator McCarthy—WOW!!!—HOW COOL WOULD THAT BE???   He must have a souped-up DeLorean in his garage…fit it out for time-travel, and…there he goes.

(Sorry…please forgive the punctuation and capital letters.)



WAIT! DO RUSSIANS REALLY OWN DONALD J. TRUMP? (Re-blogged from Jnana’s Red Barn.)

Very interesting speculation here. Thanks — Jnana!   for posting the link to Josh Marshall’s TPM (Talking Points Memo.) This information and revelations do indeed plug in to the overall Trump Mystery….it’s hard to believe he is just ignorant. WHY would the Russians be interested in “helping” The Donald? Hillary Clinton probably is, as you say, the last person Vladimir Putin might be stumping for in her bid for the presidency of the U.S. Do I believe in conspiracies? Of course…but as I like to say, just because I’m a conspiracy theorist doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get me.:-)

Jnana's Red Barn

Apart from the furor over the WikiLeaks release of hacked Democratic National Committee emails is a much bigger, more troubling, question: Exactly why were the Russians doing covert electronic snooping against the American liberal party, anyway?

(Makes me wonder about the presumed security of U.S. State Department lines, by the way – the ones Hillary Clinton avoided at times, to the consternation of her partisan attackers.)

We might begin with the fact that Russian president Vladimir Putin hates Hillary Clinton, probably because of her toughness as Secretary of State in opposition to his aggression.

But now Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo makes more serious connections as he looks at what he calls “the seeming bromance between Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.”

Quite simply, as he notes, ” There is a lot of Russian money flowing into Trump’s coffers and he is conspicuously solicitous of Russian foreign policy priorities.”

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Observations and Gossip

Wow!   Just WOW!   That’s a new IN saying, has anyone noticed?    It is a simple phrase that can be applied to most any situation.

Admiration…Wow!  Did you check the CNN anchor’s HAIR!   Wow!  I haven’t decided if I like her hair that way or not.   Between you and me, it may be a tad TOO blonde.   In fact, while on that subject…have you noticed how so many of those women are blonde?–even the brunettes are blonde.  How come there aren’t any redheads?   It used to be de rigeur, back in the day, to try to get an equal number of blondes, brunettes, and redheads.  This will probably date me, but how about Betty Grable, Hedy Lamaar, and Rita Hayworth???   Huh??? (wink wink)

Say what?    NO…I really like blondes.   I love blondes.    And furthermore, to demonstrate that I am definitely NOT sexist…I also love “blonds.”  That’s how fair-haired MEN should be described.    In my family, which is VERY-extended, there are always lots of blonde/blonds.     I always attribute that to our Viking ancestor that someone found back in the family tree.     But to be fair, there are LOTS of ancestors back there….and they all have different colors of hair.

I always ought it was a tremendous rip-off that I had brown hair…nearly black in fact…and my sisters were BLONDES.   My cousins were Blondes.  Even some of my kids are blonde/blonds.      I was always very jealous of this fact.   Once I thought of becoming a redhead, which was what I always wanted to be…but when I tried it the dye (oops…coloring)  that the beautician used produced more of a brassy copper sort-of-maroonish hue.  It was quite remarkable—and WOW! what comments I got.

To get back to the News Media people’s hair,   it always strikes me as incongruous when a striking, intelligent, educated, knowledgeable woman—especially if she is wearing a slinky cocktail dress under her flack jacket—is reporting in a serious and somber no-nonsense tone of voice the latest news about murder and mayhem and general disasters across the world.      I like the more casual hair-styles the news people are allowed out in the wind and rain….by the way, did you SEE what happened when the storm blew up and rain poured down on the CNN broadcast yesterday?      That was a great segment—wind whipping  hair and blowing chairs around?

WOW!    I LOVE that kind of stuff!



A FEW REASONS I’M FEELING NERVOUS (Re-blogged from Jnana’s Red Barn)

This looming election has us all worried, especially the survivors of the Nixon era and the events of 1968. The Republican convention went relatively well…minimum police involvement…but the Democratic convention coming up next week is frightening vulnerable to “disruption” (to use mild language) by anti-Clinton forces and general agitators. In this excellent post by Jnana Hodson makes several points that are appropriate and informative. Thanks for the reblog, Jnana!

Jnana's Red Barn

There are reasons to be nervous about this Democratic Party convention in Philadelphia.

The Chicago convention of 1968 should stand as a warning of what happens when brute power and unbending perfection collide. For those of us growing up in the hippie era – and that includes both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders – the antiwar candidacy of “Clean Gene” McCarthy was an idealistic rallying point that stood in contrast to the insider run of Bobby Kennedy, who, in retrospect, would have advanced many of our positions had he not been assassinated in Los Angeles.

Only months earlier, we were ecstatic when President Lyndon B. Johnson announced he would not run for reelection. Here was our opening, we thought, the big break for the Revolution of Peace & Love.

Instead, LBJ’s loyal vice president, Hubert H. Humphrey, won the nomination at an event marred by violent confrontations between police backed…

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The Moose, Wordle #118

The barkeep was proud
of the giant rack of antlers
above the Oak bar.

Old Methuselah, the Moose,
always evasive
ended his life in struggle.

Never threatening,
residual presentiment
transfused Evil Eye…

as per the Fourth Rule:
do not ever pluck Dahlias
unless growing wild.

© Sometimes, 2016

For Mindlovemisery’sMenagerie, Wordle #118,  July 20, 2016  https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2016/07/18/wordle-118-july-18th-2016/


Plagiarism…Play or Pay?

OOPS…. I managed to delete this post, both the current and the original from January.    An accident?  Perhaps…sometimes I change my mind about a post.   However, I was under the impression that deleted posts could be restored…I guess not.

I was trying to reblog a post, and add a new commentary at the top of it.     I didn’t like the way the post was going, so I deleted it….but then changed my mind.  But it was gone.

The new post was about Melania Trump’s speech last night to the RNC.  Republican National Convention.  I do not believe that SHE plagiarized a speech from eight years ago by present First Lady, Michelle Obama.    However, it seems obvious to me that parts of the speech WERE plagiarized, but not by Mrs. Trump.  I suspect the teleprompter had some tampering.   But what do I know?   Only what my gut tells me.  She did seem to stumble over the suspicious wording.



Plagiarism…the theft of someone else’s creative work.

Sure…everyone knows they will get a big fat F if their high school  teacher finds out that their term paper turns out to be the work of William Shakespeare…or Danielle Steel …or Dr. Seuss.   No student writer in his or her  right mind is going to steal much from Stephen King…and what ninth grade General Science student is going to try to pass off as his own work passages from Charles Darwin.

At the University level trying to pass off some obscure paper written by Steven Hawking  as one’s own work can result in academic probation…or even expulsion from the institution.    Even worse, professional plagiarists in any field– or area of academe–may find disgrace and loss of reputation if they purloin another writer’s work.

Worst case scenarios aside, and beyond the scope of this brief post, are such issues as legal complications…

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500 Posts…a Milestone!

In view of the fact that today marks the 500th post to my blog, SOMETIMES, I decided to repost the  very first two posts I EVER made…FIVE years ago!    Coincidentally, tomorrow the 13th is also my birthday. 




At first I thought it was artificial, a butterfly made of painted wood, with wire legs and antennae.  One of the kids had put it there to fool me, or as a surprise.   I stared at it closely, and one of its legs twitched almost imperceptibly.  Its black body was covered with white polka-dots, close together in horizontal rows.  It appeared almost surreal, its delicate wings black and a cobalt blue, with yellow and white dots.

My cellular phone was in my pocket, and I took three photos before the phone’s camera froze up.   It would not shut down, save, change functions… the light would not go off.

[Here’s where the plot thickens, in maddening illustration of Murphy’s Law of Cameras.]

My trusty Nikon had died, and I had been using my son’s camera.  It works well enough, as long as the packaging tape holding the battery case stays tightly in place.  But there was a problem, I had neglected to replace the batteries…I guess hoping for a break giving  another burst of power .   The power light flickered a couple of times then quit.  OH NO!  Prying off the tape was more difficult than it sounds, but there were four AA batteries in the refrigerator.      They would not work…apparently old batteries that should have been thrown away.

I kept glancing out the window, checking to make sure the butterfly was still there.   I tried to call my camera savvy daughter, who was not answering her phone.  Verizon had a “longer than normal wait” for service.   A small radio in my room had no batteries.  Finally another look into the refrigerator bag miraculously provided four brand new AAs, which worked fine.  The tape worked as it was supposed to and the battery case was in place.   The red light came on.

During my frantic search the butterfly continued to sit in place without moving, for a full twenty minutes.   Once it spread its wings fully and walked up the post a few inches, stretching its legs.  But when I went back outside, the camera ready–the butterfly was no longer there– apparently tired of waiting for me to get my act together.

Well…the photo that I did get turned out, proving that my butterfly was real.   I’m honored to have communicated with the butterfly.   Now if my camera skills, or rather my battery replacing skills improve–maybe I’ll be ready the next time nature leaves me a beautiful gift!

© Sometimes, 2011


My story about the Butterfly on my deck originally included a Hummingbird.  The tale is true, but I decided not to stretch my credibility by putting two improbable creatures in the same post, but they were in fact on my deck under a canopy at the same time.

There are a pair of the little birds that work the red Bee Balm, and the huge Hibiscus flowers, a brilliant scarlet.  We have had hummingbirds in the gardens for years, so although they never outwear their welcome and run short of charm, they are not really a novelty.   The birds prefer red, going after Million Bells hanging plants which they like so much they actually come around the plant to work the flowers hanging underneath the roof.  They are not shy about being inside the canopy.

Photo by Karen Chandler, Visioning

So, while I was trying to get the photos of the black and blue Butterfly with my battery-less camera a hummingbird came around the Million Bells and encountered me–standing less than arms length from his hovering pattern as he treaded air for maybe ten seconds before it flew up and away.   Maybe it saw its reflection in my glasses.

This is the first time a bird and I have been in such close proximity, although we do watch them frequently through the glass door.  Too bad the camera was following Murphy’s Law — if anything can go wrong, it will — and I admit it is the operator and not the camera that are to blame.

©Sometimes, 2011

[Thanks to photographer and blogger Karen Chandler, of Visioning, photography and digital scrapbooking, for permission to use her photo of the hummingbird.]

Butterflies and Cameras

 At first I thought it was artificial, a butterfly made of painted wood, with wire legs and antennae.  One of the kids had put it there to fool me, or as a surprise.   I stared at it closely, and one of its legs twitched…

Butterflies and Cameras

 At first I thought it was artificial, a butterfly made of painted wood, with wire legs and antennae.  One of the kids had put it there to fool me, or as a surprise.   I stared at it closely, and one of its legs twitched…

Surfing a Sine Wave, aka Biorythm

On alternate weeks, on the day we were born,
(they say,) there’s a change in our Biorythm…
when the sine curve dips below the mean
or rises ’til it hits a peak—I agree with ’em.

There are three, they say: health, intellect and mood
reflecting our physical construction
emotions react to sensory stimuli—for bad or good—
and strength and stamina aids resurrection.

Up to great heights, and down in the dumps
elation, arousal, ambition—all energetic—
warms the vigour of the pumping heart
when time and life’s traffic is ever more hectic.

What is certain is the regular rise and fall
of the curve as it leaps and dips..whether joy or tears,
the rhythm does calculations and regulations,
regardless of season…it all up to the whims of the Moon.

Not being a scientist or physician, I’m not in a position
to elaborate on things of a physical or technical nature—
suffice it to say that I am a believer…and if I my vision
is exceptionally  happy, or sad, or blasé—it must be a Friday!

© Sometimes, 2016